Massachusetts Medical Society Becomes the First State-Based Physician Organization to Endorse an Electronic Prescribing Application

October 28, 2003

Waltham, Mass., and Rockville, Md. — The Massachusetts Medical Society and DrFirst, a provider of electronic healthcare solutions for physicians and hospitals, today announced an agreement to introduce electronic prescribing to Massachusetts physicians through Rcopia, DrFirst’s electronic prescription service.

Automating the prescription process can enhance prescribing overall by improving patient safety, accuracy, efficiency, convenience and the quality of information at the point of care. These enhancements enable healthcare professionals to spend more time on patient care and less on time-consuming phone calls and faxes related to the prescription process.

The Massachusetts Medical Society represents a growing number of physicians who will utilize the broad pharmacy connectivity offered by electronic prescribing in their clinical decision making for patients, all while reducing the administrative workload related to ordering and dispensing prescriptions among physicians and pharmacists. To encourage adoption among physicians, members of the Massachusetts Medical Society will receive discounts on DrFirst products.

“The Massachusetts Medical Society is committed to pursuing and promoting new technologies in the name of quality improvement, patient safety, and enhanced efficiency,” said Thomas E. Sullivan, M.D., President, Massachusetts Medical Society. “Medicine has certainly benefited from new technology in the fields of diagnosis and treatment, and we’re just now beginning to reap rewards through the appropriate application of information technology, particularly in the areas of administrative simplification and medical records.”

“Electronic prescription technology has many benefits to physicians, pharmacists and patients, the most important of which is the potential for increased patient safety. We’re excited to be at the forefront of helping to support usage of this new application,” said Sullivan.

The Massachusetts Medical Society chose DrFirst’s Rcopia because it is a complete end-to-end solution. It offers state-of-the-art electronic prescribing service for all physicians, including small and large practice groups, clinics, and independent physician associations (IPAs).

Rcopia is a SureScripts Certified SolutionTM, which enables physicians to electronically access and conduct two-way communications with more than 50 percent of chain and independent pharmacies across the country that will be connected to SureScripts Messenger” Services by year’s end. The connectivity to pharmacies will not only allow physicians using Rcopia to electronically transmit new prescriptions, but will also enable them to expedite refills electronically, improving the current inefficient process of phoning and faxing. Specifically, in Massachusetts over 65 percent of the retail pharmacies will be connected, trained, and actively using SureScripts Messenger Services by end of 2003.

Additionally, Rcopia has the unique capability of connecting to health plan pharmacy benefit managers through its partnership with RxHub. DrFirst has completed certification to incorporate RxHub’s medication prescribing technology (RxHub PRN” and RxHub SIG”) which improves patient safety through the availability of the patients’ medication history and streamlines medication prescribing by providing patient-specific drug benefit information. This functionality enables physicians to make informed prescribing decisions at the point of care.

Rcopia operates on multiple platforms, such as PDAs, desktop, laptop and tablet personal computers, allowing for physicians to create legible prescriptions quickly and accurately from pick lists and remembering patients’ medication dosage/interval and pharmacy of choice. With Rcopia’s offline capabilities on the PDA, physicians can write prescriptions for all patients in their practices whether or not they’re connected to the Internet. In addition, staff efficiency can be increased due to less administrative phone calls and faxes, since prescription and refill requests are accepted directly from and sent to pharmacy computer systems. All of these factors then allow for Rcopia to enhance patient safety and reduce costs with the goal of benefiting patients, physicians, pharmacies and health plans.

“Rcopia has the unique ability to offer physicians flexibility,” said Peter Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer, DrFirst. “Rcopia’s secure Web site can be accessed anywhere using a Web browser and operates on multiple platforms, so doctors have a choice of devices for electronic prescribing. Prescriptions are checked for everything from allergy and drug interactions to formulary compliance, improving overall the practice of medicine and enhancing patient safety and quality of care.”

“Rcopia is designed as a network that is open to other electronic systems while still maintaining security,” said John F. Bartos, Jr., president of DrFirst. “An open architecture, allowing disparate systems to talk with one another, is critical to success in electronic medicine. This project will encourage other vendors to lower the barriers to one another.”

Use of an electronic prescribing system could help cut medication errors significantly, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Illegible prescriptions and confusion caused by similar sounding drug names are not uncommon. It is estimated that medication errors alone contribute to more than 7,000 deaths annually.

About the Massachusetts Medical Society
The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), with 18,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians and patients of Massachusetts. Founded in 1781, the MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. The Society owns and publishes The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal Watch family of professional newsletters, AIDS Clinical Care, and produces HealthNews, a consumer health publication. For more information, visit

About DrFirst
Utilizing the latest advancements in Internet, security, wireless and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) technology, DrFirst provides a suite of integrated, affordable, intuitive and easily implemented products and services to the healthcare community. DrFirst’s products include e-prescribing, charge capture, and secure messaging. These comprehensive solutions solve critical communication, business productivity and clinical needs of physicians, clinics, hospitals and health systems. More information about DrFirst can be found at